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Chios Greece, A Little Known Paradise

Jun 13, 2008
Chios is known as the fragrant flower of the Aegean and is located in northeast Aegean Sea of Greece and is the fifth largest of all the Greek islands, sitting just five miles from the Turkish coast. Chios is a mountainous island with its highest peak Pelineo.

Chios not traditionally a tourist favorite is gaining a reputation as an island sought by package tourists, with crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches and good facilities. Its beautiful and significant beaches like Komi, Daskalopetra, Agia Markella, Vroulidia etc. which are organized cosmopolitan resorts make the island special. Around the rest of the island, there are an amazing array beaches there to be sampled.

Things to see

There are more than 30 monasteries and hundreds of churches in Chios. Probably the major historical attraction on Chios is the monastery, Nea Moni, about 11 kilometers from the city of Chios. It was founded in the 11th century when three hermit-monks found a miraculous icon of the Virgin here and they persuaded the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus to build a magnificent monastery and church on this site. The 11th century church is still considered one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical architecture in this part of the Greek Orthodox world and its mosaics are also highly regarded.
In Chios, also, there are several museums. Some of the most attractive are the following:

The Byzantine Museum which was housed in the 19th century on the central square of Chios and contains a collection of items and findings that have been discovered on the island and donated from private collections.

The Palace of Ioustiniani stands between the Castle of Chios and the main square of the capital. The exhibition displays Byzantine murals, post Byzantine icons, small works of arts and Byzantine and Genoese sculptures.

The Maritime Museum is located in the centre of Chios and explains its maritime tradition by displaying various items that give historical information about this tradition and about the development of shipping commerce in the area.

Chios is also known for its production of "masticha". The small villages of Pyrgi and Mesta are just two of the villages known as "mastihohoria", where their production of mastic, a substance once used like chewing gum, saved them from the Turkish army's wrath. The villages are enclosed within walls and are best explored on foot, these towns, built like mazes, have a wonderful atmosphere to them. Mastic chewing gum can also be bought in these villages

When to come

The island's climate is warm and moderate, categorized as temperate Mediterranean, with modest variation due to the stabilizing effect of the surrounding sea. Average temperatures normally range from a summer high of 27 Celsius to a winter low of 11 in January. The weather is fairly good from May to October and the sea is not chilly and this makes it perfect for a summer destination.

August is the month on which most of the traditional festivals take place. These are mostly celebrations of Greek Orthodox Saints accompanied by food and drink and traditional Greek dances until early morning hours with participants from all age groups, nationalities and social classes. These festivals are not to be missed. On the other hand August is really the month that almost all Greeks take their summer vacation to island destinations. Even Chios can get overcrowded in August. If relaxing vacation is what you are after August in Chios is not your best choice.
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